Ukip councillor to face legal training after speaking out

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood
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A UKIP councillor has been told to get training after ‘misunderstanding’ council rules on speaking at meetings.

Ukip’s Cllr Christopher Wood faced scrutiny after he spoke at a meeting at Hampshire County Council about resurfacing the runway at Daedalus airfield.

He lives near the site and declared a financial interest before speaking.

But he was wrong to do so as he lives in his parent’s home, in Conqueror Way, Stubbington and does not own it.

Cllr Wood said the person who complained was a former political rival, who was not at the meeting when he spoke.

He said: ‘I didn’t take it all that seriously.

‘I didn’t think I’d actually done anything wrong and if I had done anything wrong then I thought they’d tell me.

‘You can tell there’s an election coming up and that’s what they’re up to. I try and avoid that sort of thing.

‘I’m 24, I’m new at this, and the panel respects that. It’ll be an hour’s further training.

‘I spoke at a meeting regarding the runway at Daedalus.

‘I said that people who live nearby could be affected by the noise, which is absolutely true.

‘Everyone at the meeting knew my house backs on to the airfield.’

Cllr Wood represents Fareham Crofton and is challenging Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage for her seat in 2015.

A county council conduct panel met to decide if Cllr Wood should face an investigation but decided against it.

It said that he could have disclosed a non-financial interest at the meeting but that he did not breach the code of conduct.

And the panel said that even if there was a breach of the code of conduct, it appeared to be technical and a misunderstanding of procedure.

He will now be invited to have legal training on the code of conduct.

Cllr Ray Finch is the Ukip leader at the county council.

He said: ‘It’s like trying to shoot someone round the corner – you wait until they’re not looking and you have a sneaky little shot at them.

‘It’s playground politics. It doesn’t appear to be anything that Chris has done wrong.

‘He’s had nothing to gain by this apparent mistake. Someone’s just making a cowardly attack on him.

‘Ukip and myself have absolutely no problem with Chris, we back him to the hilt.’

Cllr Wood was elected in 2013, winning 2,691 votes to then-Conservative councillor Tim Knight’s 1,764.